My Training in D.C. for Food for Life Instructor with Physicians Committee

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In August 2015, I went to Washington, D.C. for training with Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to become a Food for Life instructor, and I could never have predicted the impact the experience would have on me.

Though I had been excitedly waiting for nearly a year to complete the very thorough and extensive application process to teach this award-winning nutrition and cooking program that was designed by physicians, nutrition experts, and registered dietitians, I still was not prepared for the extent and magnitude of the upcoming training.

Online, through plant-based Facebook groups, I had met a handful of others who had also been selected to attend training and certification. A few of us had corresponded in the months leading up to our August classes, so it was nice to feel like I knew some of the other participants a little bit.

However, once training began, I realized just how diverse the group was with participants from Italy, Hong Kong, Canada, and South Africa. There were physicians, registered dietitians, Ph.D.s, restaurant owners, and everything in between. It was amazing to be part of such a group!

Training began as a whirlwind with welcome, introductions, and an overview of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Then there was a succession of experts–Dr, Neal Barnard (president of PCRM), dietitians, and people with lots of letters following their names–that gave empowering lectures.

As the days went on, I became more and more confident about my ability to teach others about the power of food for healing the body.

The days and classes continued with program guidelines and agreements, guidance in the administration process, class demonstrations from seasoned professionals, curriculum overviews, technical aspects of cooking demonstrations, sales, and marketing orientation, and media training.

Finally, on the last day of training, we were taken to one of Washington, D.C.’s Whole Foods Markets where we individually gave live cooking demonstrations. No pressure, huh?!

To say that I was nervous is a complete understatement! There’s nothing like taking a small-town country girl from North Carolina and putting her in the ginormous city of D.C., in a food retailer as large as Whole Foods Market (this one was on steroids compared to any Whole Foods I had ever seen–2 stories high!), and telling her to teach and cook.

I was completely out of my element! But I smiled, sucked it up, and did as I’ve been told many times, ‘Fake it till you make it!’ Though I can’t remember much about what I actually said, it must have been okay because they gave me my Instructor License.

Now I’m back home, with a mountain of textbooks and curricula to study. Thankfully, since I’m a research nerd, I had already read all three of the textbooks….maybe more than once… I told you I’m a nerd. So, my workload is a little less than many of the other newly licensed instructors. Which is a good thing since I already have an introduction class scheduled for September 15th at a local physical therapy medical facility, and my first series, Kickstart Your Health,  is scheduled to begin October 7th.

I’m also talking with two hospitals about scheduling sessions to begin in the fall. PCRM also has an Employee Wellness program for employers, so I can’t wait to begin exploring that option with local businesses.

I’m bursting at the seams to get this show on the road! This little Carolina girl is eager to get out there and hold the hands of those suffering from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and so many other health issues. I want to share the avalanche of scientific research supporting the link between diet and health, watch as participants experience the benefits of plant-based nutrition, and learn the practical cooking skills needed to aid them on their journey to better health.

I can’t wait to help others understand how easy and satisfying plant-based nutrition can be and watch their transformation back to health. Read about my plant-based journey back to health.

Now that I’m all trained up, nothing can stop me. Lookout North and South Carolina, I’m on my way! Let’s do this! Here’s my profile page with the Physicians Committee PROFILE PCRM.

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About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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  1. Hi Terri’

    I am in the process of applying for the next PCRM class! I just happened upon this page, and would love to get some input from you. I feel as though its my next step in my never ending journey to help people with their health. If you can find the time, maybe we could share some emails. Thanks in advance.


  2. Awesome journey at PCRM! I too would like to connect with you to talk to you about taking this training this fall. Please do let me know if you are available to chat for a few minutes. I live in Atlanta, GA and I am very passionate about Whole Food Plant Based Nutrition for the sake of Health, Compassion and our Environment.
    Please let me know,

  3. Hi Terri,
    Thanks for sharing your story! I was wondering if you can give me more information regarding your training. I am considering changing careers! Since being plant-based fora year now, I see the world through different eyes! I am very passionate about educating others about diet and health but feel I need more scientific data to back up what i say. My family thinks I just make up all the facts, even though I’ve told them to watch Forks over Knives, read the China Study or subscribe to Dr. Gregers website. How long is the course and when is the next one? I tried to follow link to apply on website but couldn’t actually find any dates of the course. Also, can I eventually make a living form this career change? I plan to eventually write a plant-based book. I have my own blog which I started but is on hold for now. I’d like to share Italian Homemade recipes which are modified with a plant-based twist, as well as provide information, links about the benefits of eating whole, plant-based foods.

    Thanks Terri

    1. Hi Sandra,
      The with Physicians Committee is simply to get licensed for their Food for Life program, so it was not a long training–only 3 days. The dates for next year’s session have not been published yet, but it usually happens in the summer months between June-August. To learn more about the scientific facts of plant-based nutrition, I would suggest reading the textbooks for Food for Life–The Cancer Survivor’s Guide, Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes, and 21-Day Weight Loss KickStart. It is very possible to make a living at being a Food for Life instructor, but I will say it takes a lot of work. If you are also business-minded with administrative stuff and completely self-motivated, you can definitely make it work. There is a lot of opportunity there. Best of luck with your endeavors and I hope this information helps! I like your blog too!

        1. Sandra, I have noticed that a large number of Food for Life instructors do have the Cornell plant-based nutrition certification, but it is not required by PCRM.

    1. Jan, the textbooks were: 21-Day Weight Loss KickStart, The Cancer Survivor’s Guide, and Dr. Neal Barnard Program for Reversing Diabetes. All are excellent books and available on amazon. Happy reading! 🙂

  4. Just found your blog. Just love it!!!! So, you were in my neck of the woods. I am so excited to hear PCRM is opening in DC. What an opportunity to share WFPB to a wide range of people. There are so many people who are starving to know how to live a healthy lifestyle. I would love to go through this training. This is my passion and I love to do cooking demos too. You will do awesome! Looking forward to hearing more about your journey on your blog.

    1. I’m so glad you found my blog! D.C. was a terrific city, and I hope to get to visit again. Next time, I’d love to stop by the new PCRM medical center.

  5. Hi, Terri! Thanks for sharing your experience. It was fun to see your blog pop up in my Google Alerts today! I work at Physicians Committee and lead the media training last week. I’m sure you will be a fantastic instructor–the Carolinas are lucky to have you!

    Barb–you can find a list of classes at 🙂

    1. Dania, Physicians Committee did an excellent job putting the training together. All I heard were praises from participants I spoke with. I feel confident in representing PCRM in my area of the Carolinas and can’t wait to get started empowering my community with the life-changing power of food. Thanks to Physicians Committee for your mission of making the scientific evidence available to the rest of us!

  6. “Fake it until you make it” : love the slogan. I know it was pretty intense training but you made it and your followers will be benefiting from this amazing experience. We need good leaders and now you are one of them. Your knowledge and enthusiasm will make our WFPB group stronger and more powerful! Thank you Terri!

    1. Nadge, thanks so much! I don’t think of myself as a leader in the whole foods, plant-based movement, but I love your vote of confidence. What and encourager you are! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sandi! I can’t wait to get started and am working very hard to get all the administrative stuff done so I can start my classes. I really appreciate the encouragement!

  7. Terri, I was so anxious to read about your training! You described it just as I imagined it would be; intense and really comprehensive. I didn’t expect them to put you through an actual live cooking demo, but I bet you nailed it! Thank you for sharing this experience and I may want to reach out again when I get ready to apply for the PCRM Food for Life training in 2016.

    1. Lauren, it was an amazing and empowering experience. Yes, please reach out at any point. I’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have. 🙂

  8. Hi Terri. I am a 68 year old woman with good health….so far…..but with a family history of heart disease. I have been reading Dr. Esselstyn’s books and actually spoke to him last week in reference to using oil as part of WFPB eating. You are very motivational in your writing and attitude that comes across with such excitement and devotion. I am anxiously waiting to follow your journey in what seems to me to be a very exciting endeavor! Helping people maintain their health for a long and healthy life in what looks like a fairly simple way has intrigued me for a long time. I have wanted my church to offer some type of program to assist members in maintaining good health and I’m hoping that following your journey will give me some very concrete facts to use to encourage people to take good care of themselves. Thank you for all you do on your website and Facebook. God Bless! Barb

    1. Barb, what encouragement! That’s exactly what I hope to do–motivate and excite others about the power of food for health. What a terrific mission for you to offer your church family information on maintaining good health. I feel honored to be a part of helping you accomplish that. I’m not sure what area you are in, but there might be a Food for Life instructor nearby that could do a series at your church or community center. Physicians Committee is updating their list with all the new licensed instructors over the next couple of weeks. You could check their website, and it should be updated soon. I hope you find all the encouragement and motivation you are looking for here, and please don’t hesitate to message me with any questions. Thanks so much for sharing!

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